Re: HOW DO YOU GET RID OF BAD CONTRACTS?
posted at 5/25/2012 12:38 AM EDT
In Response to Re: HOW DO YOU GET RID OF BAD CONTRACTS?
[QUOTE]In Response to Re: HOW DO YOU GET RID OF BAD CONTRACTS? : Excellent post, Notin. I'm OK with letting them expire, as long as the FO doesn't turn around and make other crazy signings.
Posted by Yukon-Cornelius[/QUOTE]
And therein lies the problem. They have to make other crazy signings. They really have no choice.
Free agency is bad for baseball. Fans on this site whine about Epstein’s contracts as if his success rate is outside of the norm. Giving in excess of $10mill annually for a long period to a player over 30 with a minimum of 6 years of wear and tear is a recipe for disaster for any and every GM. Not every signing will work out as well as Manny Ramirez. But then, that is because not every free agent is only 27 years old with Cooperstown talent. Manny was probably about the biggest no-brainer in the history of free agency. The only question was whether or not a team had the resources to meet his price. (A-Rod is the only real competition for this honor.)
The rest of free agency serves two purposes, and neither are all that closely related to actual baseball on the field. First, they stimulate fan interest and provide PR with a display of commitment. Let’s face it, fans get excited when the team is willing to spend money on proven (albeit post prime) baseball talent as opposed to spending it on European automobiles and renting Caribbean islands for spouses’ birthday parties. It’s for Public Relations and a display they care about the team, which the Red Sox are certainly want to do. (Like when they pressed the Cubs for top tier player compensation for Epstein. Had they simply taken the proffered monetary compensation, they would look like greedy owners apathetic towards baseball.) It’s like the NFL Draft in a way. It’s very, very rare for a team to completely rejuvenate themselves with a singular draft and actually become competitive, but fans of the weaker teams get excited to see the influx of new talent amidst a boatload of pomp and circumstance. Most first round picks actually fall in somewhere between “marginal” and “bust”, but those picks are still treated like gold, and on Draft Day, they’re all Pro Bowlers who generate enough excitement to increase ticket sales and most definitely not worth trading for proven players not blessed with monolithic levels of “potential.”. Ironically, NFL free agency is a far, far better way to improve a team, but is comparatively ignored, largely due to the inability to market it similarly. I mean, how could you even televise THAT?
The other purpose of MLB free agency is simply to stave off more lawsuits. If every team did the smart thing and avoided mega-contracts, the MLBPA would cry “Collusion!!” (which they actually do almost every year anyway, but it gets hard to prove in the face of the contracts being doled out). “Collusion” is the scariest word an owner can hear, as they have already lost 3 lawsuits for this reason, resulting in damages exceeding anything that a singular free agent can bring. The last two MLB expansions (Colorado and Florida in 1993, Arizona and Tampa in 1997) were a direct result of having to pay off collusion settlements. Owners find it easier to simply dole out the occasional mega-contract, which at least has the potential for SOME return on investment, and also allows them to maintain a better bargaining position when the inevitable CBA negotiations arise.
The financial aspect of MLB essentially boils down to several hundred people trying to figure out how to divide up several billion dollars and make everyone happy. Free agency in baseball is really just the players compensation for dividing up their share of the money. It’s not going away and cannot be avoided. It’s the owners’ duty to stay involved. So, yes, there will be other bad mega-contracts. I think Benjamin Franklin said it best – “The only things that are certain in life are death, taxes, and large market baseball teams signing unproductive free agents for far more money than they will ever be worth that lead to a litany of complaints from fans.” Look it up…